Details are a bit sketchy, but clearly SOMETHING bad happened last weekend at the 2017 Cosplay Con & Anime Experience in North Little Rock, AR.
The event focused on cosplayers and guests were drawn from that area. The show purported to benefit the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Heroes And Angels Corp., Progressive Outreach Ministries, and several homeless shelters. All sounds like a fun weekend, right?
But, that’s not what happened. It seems that one of the show promoters, a man known as Malcolm Fledge (real name Kenton Paul) disappeared with the money from the show without paying any guests. Also, the credit card used to pay for the guests’ rooms didn’t work, leaving them out in the cold. And worst of all, three of the guests ended up in the hospital, one after suffering heart issues, one after passing one, and one after having a mental breakdown and attempting suicide.
The charges were first aired in a post on FB from attendee Katyusha Lubiani:
More details emerge in the comments, this FB post, from guest David Waid as well as a 38 minute video from Lubiani laying out what went down–which I haven’t listened to but I’m sure its full of gory details. The con’s Facebook page has many, many more complaints, including emails to the main address for the show that bounced, a phone number that had no voice mail, a “rain gutter” vendor on the show floor, and vendors forced to take “vendor bucks” from prize winners…vendor bucks that were mostly never redeemed by the showrunners.
Also a rack of pillows fell on a baby in a stroller. Luckily it was only pillows and not Funko Pops.
The food vendor wasn’t paid either:
Please add my name to the list, I was the food vendor for this event. We are called BBQ Benefitting Arkansas we were promised $300 on Monday for catering the dinner Saturday night. If anyone wants to help me out I would appreciate it. I had to lay off my only employee and I also had to pay $300 to be the food vendor. If anyone is taking legal action please contact me as well so I can be added to the list.
Things were so bad that a GoFundMe has been set up to help the cosplayer who had mental issues at the show.
And Anime Arkansas, another local and LEGIT show expressed sorrow and offered lowered prices for their event next year.
At full disclosure, we would like to assure everyone that AnimeCon Arkansas nor any of our other events are in no way affiliated with Cosplay Con & Anime Experience. We want everyone to enjoy their time at any convention, because conventions are meant to be a fun way to escape the ordinary and see friends!
We hope to see everyone at AnimeCon Arkansas 2018 and in light of everything bad that happened this past weekend and the sorrow we feel for those affected, we will be lowering our pre-reg tickets to the original early bird price of $20 through this coming Saturday. We will make another announcement when this change has been made. Again, we as an AR con feel deeply for everyone affected and you are in our thoughts.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.